Nielsen Says It Sees Significant TV Viewing Lifts From New Measures

Nielsen has an encouraging message for TV producers and distributors as they dive into the upfront ad sales season.

Recent ratings declines will look less worrisome as they account for the growth of delayed viewing via DVRs and VOD, as well as digital and out of home viewing, execs said in a press briefing this morning.

“More and more viewing is happening outside of seven days,” especially for broadcast TV shows that aren’t repeated, says Client Solutions and Audience Insights EVP Sara Erichson. When you extend the window to 35 days — which Nielsen began to do in September — then “in some cases you see double digit increases.”

That was the case for episodes of several shows broadcast the week of February 13-19: The audience for NBC’s This Is Us grew 13% when Nielsen added people who watched between 8 and 35 days after it aired. CBS’ Big Bang Theory also improved 13% while ABC’s Modern Family was up 14%.

Nielsen said that CBS’ entertainment series found an additional 15% of viewers in the month after the first week.

The ratings company also is keeping an eye on viewing in the 56% of TV households that have a digital streaming device, an internet enabled video game console, or an internet enabled smart TV.

They accounted for an hour and 10 minutes of the three hours and 57 minutes that 18-to-34 year old viewers spent watching TV on an average day in Q1, Nielsen says.

Although they’re less popular with older audiences, they still accounted for 51 minutes of the 5:08 hours that 25-to-54 year olds spent watching TV.

The trend is “fundamentally changing TV,” Erichson says.

In addition, Nielsen is beginning to monitor what streaming services people watch. Netflix accounted for 46% of time spent streaming over five weeks from mid January to mid February. It was followed by YouTube at 15%, Hulu at 8%, and Amazon at 4%. Another 11% went to other services while Nielsen couldn’t determine a source for 17%.

The company is high on new findings about out of home viewing — which is especially important for sports and news networks that typically don’t benefit from delayed viewing on DVRs or VOD.

In January, cable sports networks saw an 8.8% lift from out of home measurements, the company says. Cable news networks were  up 6.2% with the additional viewers.

Out of home viewers “are younger, more female and it’s creating an opportunity to reach cord cutters,” says Product Leadership SVP Jessica Hogue.

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